4 bucks, 4 movies

The other day was mine, all mine, to do with what I pleased. Phil handed it to me, my chance to do anything. I needed it. I showed up at my nearest AMC theater, before noon, on a Saturday, and was charged $4.00 for a ticket. In New York, last I was there, movies near my apartment were charging $10.50. Score one, Austin. My Saturday was spent, quite honestly–even though it’s a horrible thing to do–movie hopping alone (just the hopping is horrid, not the alone bit).

Juno was up first. Followed by (parts of) The Bucket List, the last half of 27 Dresses, and the whole of Mad Money (because I see everything with Diane Keaton. I just can’t help myself).

The Bucket List seemed silly, and while I enjoy Morgan Freeman’s voice, and the way Jack never blinks, I still left the skydiving/tattoo scenes in favor of 27 Dresses, a total chick by way of flick that had me crying before the credits had a fighting chance. I wonder, though, if I missed out in leaving the boys behind. The film was, after all, directed by Rob Reiner–what’s not to love? Seriously–so I’m sure there was real heart to it beyond the expected "unexpected friends learn to heal each other" thing. Yet, I have no problem sitting through a film like 27 dresses, completely predictable in every way, totally formulaic, where you know exactly what will happen by the end in the first ten minutes of the film.

So why do I do it? With all the obvious manipulations, the swelling of the predictable music, falling for the wrong guy, the story of every woman (even though no one ever has as nice an apartment as those in the movies–and I wouldn’t want them to!) I can’t help but enjoy the ride because I love seeing love. I love witnessing "how we met"s, rooting for someone (despite knowing it will happen in the end). I like seeing what unexpected gestures and epiphanies happen along the way. What quirks will arise that he finds adorable. If it will be a film where he adores the quirks, then complains of those same quirks, and then once broken up, he declares that he cannot live without those quirks. Your typical boy meets girl, loses girl, and gets girl back. I fall for it every time. Then there’s the boy wants hot girl, ignoring could-be hottie tomboy friend who’s suddenly beautiful once her hair is tousled loose and her glasses are removed. Or that same sidelines girl finds out the guy who now really does like her, only dated her to begin with, over a bet.

Mostly, though, the richest of the "modern" chick flicks (ie, anything Jane Austen does not count) include incredibly quirky types who are somehow changed by the influence of an incredible other. Think Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie (we always route for the types who sabotage their own happiness), Something’s Gotta Give with curmudgeon Harry Sanborn and accomplished, and anal, Erica Barry (where they balance each other, once they sidestep the love triangle). Ah, the triangle… no shortage there, from Titanic to If Lucy Fell, Bridget Jones Diary, Chances Are (still love to love on that film from when Moonlighting was all the rage), French Kiss, and Four Weddings and a Funeral, which is almost like Four bucks for four movies, except it’s nothing at all like it.



  1. Did you love Juno? I couldn't quite get into it until the last 20 min or so – right when she goes to Bleeker at the track – from then on……I thought it was just the sweetest film I had seen in a long time.
    27 Dresses – lord, James Marsden, have loved him since some show a million years ago with 'Noah' in the title on ABC. Movie was predictable and I can honestly say I did not enjoy it as much as the HUNDREDS of Manhattan sorority girls I was surrounded by who made all the appropriate noises at all the right times exactly in sync with each other. My favorite part – when she nails her sister at the rehearsal dinner. I wanted to stand up and cheer.
    Little Black Book was all over cable this weekend, for some reason I thought of you every time I saw it in the cable line up.
    Hope the beans are better!!

  2. I used to movie hop with my boss in DC. I miss those days, although following "Hostel" with "The Producers" was a particular triumph.

    Glad to hear you took your snuffly self out for a day of mindless joy. Hurray for Phil giving Mom the day off.

  3. I loved 27 Dresses too- and because it took the formula and stuck right too it. I saw it because I love the formula and I'm so happy when they stick to it and don't try to add twists and turns or not end it on a happy note. There's a reason all those movies are known, loved, successful, owned and watched over and over- the formula works!
    My favorite part was all the old bridesmaids dresses being reused :)

  4. So…. yes or no re: Juno?

    FROM SK: I really want to talk about it, but I don't want to spoil it for those who still want to see it. I have definite thoughts on this. I liked it in one of those ways where I wasn't sure if I liked it, like it kinda snuck up on me, and even then I was unsure. I wanted things to happen in the film that didn't. I think all the characters talked the same (similar to the way in Gilmore Girls, everyone is always witty). I maybe need to see it again because I kind of feel that it was over-hyped, in the same way Royal Tennenbaums was for me.

    DON'T READ THE FOLLOWING IF YOU PLAN TO SEE THE FILM JUNO: I kept hoping (which is horrible) that she'd have the baby, after they paid for her medical expenses, etc. and the baby came out with a serious birth defect, or as a still born. That would have shocked the shit out of everyone, and we'd still be left with how people handle the situation. When the technician looked at the sonogram, she kinda made a worried face, and I thought… there's a problem with the baby! But when there wasn't, I was kind of let down. I'm sick, I know.

  5. Ohhhh… French Kiss. Aside from combining Meg Ryan (pre-scary surgery face) and Kevin Kline, which in itself is enough to make me love it, THE SOUNDTRACK. After having watched the movie about a million times I finally bought the CD and it has been on my most-played list on my ipod ever since, including a solid month-long run in my car on "repeat". The french version of dream a little dream of me… I actually looked up the lyrics in french just so I could sing along.

  6. I so love a movie day – this time of year I try to see what I think are the best of the nominated films and throw in some quirky ones just for fun. My best record is three theaters, three films and only one popcorn!

    Juno – loved it. Anyone who finds the "ideal" adoptive parents in the Thrifties has a unique approach.

    Bucket List – I went because it was free and that was even too much to pay – I will never get that time back. I so enjoy all of the work of those involved but this had nothing to contribute and should probably be considered a definite "Avoid At All Costs" movie. Too bad – so much talent, so wasted.

    As for chick flicks – I have a hard time with the formula – I am looking for something more – but Diane Keaton with Jack will always have a place in my heart – it was so heart wrenching when she told him on the sidewalk that he had broken her heart…I just felt it.. one of the best of its kind for sure.

  7. Loved Juno — BUT — am I wrong for thinking that in real life this girl would have had an abortion? Anyone else feel like that's what would have really happened?

  8. Every now & then, when I go to see one of those chick flicks, I pray that they mess up the ending and shock the hell out of everyone. Maybe that's why I enjoyed THE BREAK UP (with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn). It ended differently.

    And I loved JUNO. Hype or not, that movie covered some great topics —- about growing up, parenting, sacrifices, and love — and did it really well.

  9. When I tell people that I went to see a movie and they say "oh with who?" and I say myself…people always look at me like with such sympathy and regret for my loss of companionship. But I love it! And I remind those concerned eyes that there is nothing better than sitting there with the popcorn all yours, both handrests, and 2 hours of silence (well not silence but noone asking you to do something or say something.)

  10. I love, LOVE seeing movies by myself. LOVE.

    i love a good chick flick and a good cry and a good, predictable falling in love story. I love the rest on your list plus In Her Shoes, and even the horrible movie version of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya sisterhood. But I'm a hater when it comes to 27 Dresses. Gah. I don't know why it didn't do it for me…but it SO didn't. Except for James Marsden. James Marsden was delicious.

  11. My husband is always trying to movie hop and I am totally opposed to it. Even trying to sneak into one extra film–no way. But four? WOW!

    Aside from the ethical issues, I can't imagine wanting to stay at any movie theater that long. As much as I LOVE films, I tire of sitting in the dark too long and always feel like the day is slipping away from me. I'd miss the daylight too much.

  12. Have you seen "there will be blood"? not very chic-flickey but very good. the little boy in it looks a bit like your lucas. he's adorable.

  13. Yeah, you are sick. I went to see Juno without knowing the hype and ignoring commercials for trailers and reading reviews. Just my own weird way of not wanting anyone to influence me or spoiling anything for me. Good not great I'd say. Not gonna win the Oscar, that's for sure. Don't forget to wish a certain plantation a happy birthday. I hear sending spoiled stone crabs is a swell idea…

  14. I'm not sure if you allow links, but an old friend of mine, Tom Meny, did a gravel-voiced cover of the Moldy Peaches song the actors sing to each other in Juno, which is simply wonderful. It's on youtube.


    Feel free to delete if you think it's too promoting, but it's a sweet version I think you'll like.

  15. Have you see "The Jane Austen Club" – very lovely.
    And besides chick flicks, "American Gangster" was outstanding and I've just seen "Atonement" which I'm just not actually too sure about whether it was excellent or just too depressing for words or what. Keira Knightly irritates me, she's so sulky and over-act-ey.

  16. I loved JUNO!!! I couldn't stop smiling for days. I have never had the nerve to movie hop, probably because I've seen people get caught and it hasn't been pretty. I think it depends on the theater and time of day. Not to mention tactics!

  17. I know this will make me unpopular here, but since you are never shy about your indulgences, why would you cheat a movie theater out of income so you could watch bits of other movies. This surely proves that you can't buy class.

  18. I liked Juno but I thought the writer tried too hard in writing the dialogue and, in some cases, made the teens sound far too old.

    Too many chick flicks are far too mindless and poorly written to be entertaining. Give me Pride and Prejudice over 27 Dresses, any day. Because, sure Jane Austen can be fucking annoying to read, but at least there's some substance there. Of course, you could always read Lolita, which was termed "the only convincing love story of our century". Still struggling with that one.

  19. i saw juno on opening weekend and some things irked me — mainly the dialogue which felt really contrived. but overall, i really liked it and thought it was sweet comedy. however, walking out of the theatre i immediately knew it would become this year's napolean dynamite, little miss sunshine, etc. the quirky comedies that are a big hit but then become waaaay too over-hyped.

  20. It's funny you mentioned the movie 'Tootsie'. I just rented it last Sunday. I've seen it many, many times, it's always great. You can't go wrong with Dustin Hoffman. Also mentioned – Annie Hall. Another fab. movie. I am a woody fanatic, I have every movie he ever made. I haven't seen Juno yet but I loved Michael Cera in 'Arrested development', his character George Michael was so funny in an understated sort of way. Glad you had a day off, good for recharging yourself.

  21. Regarding Juno, I was SO happy that nothing was wrong with the baby. It was an all-around "feel good" movie and I think that any really serious shockers would have totally ruined the overall theme. The dialogue left something to be desired, especially at the beginning, but in general, Juno was fantastic.
    Also see:
    There Will Be Blood (DDL is phenomenal)
    The Diving Bell and The Butterfly (limited release, is subtitled, but is a must-see)
    Sweeney Todd. It's a musical bloodbath. I alternated between laughing and cringing throughout the entire movie – EXCELLENT.

  22. bwahahahaha! i thought the same thing about the sonogram technician, and mentally chastised myself for hoping for the plot twist . . .

  23. A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I went to see the 3D version of Beowulf. The line was 15 minutes long, the movie was starting soon, and it was sure to sell out.

    I talked my innocent, straight-laced man into sneaking past the ropes, bluffing our way past the greeter/glass giver at the 3D theater, and stealing two seats while people were being seated by ushers all around us, filling nearly the entire theater.

    Who knew that 3D movies had assigned seats? We sure didn't!

    We were sweating bullets until we were 15 minutes into the movie, when we finally relaxed and accepted the fact that we weren't going to get thrown out.

    I thought he was going to give me hell for putting him through all of that, but when we left all he said was, "Man, that makes you feel alive."

    Sometimes you need to forget about class.

  24. I way to see a Mighty Heart by myself on my day off and I was the only one in the theatre. I don't mind going to see movies by myself at all!

  25. No other parents of young girls here? No mention of the Hannah Montana movie!! Took my two girls (8 and 3). They loved it (especially the 3D). I thought it was kind of meh.

  26. You so speak my chick flick language. I have seen them all and mark my calendars and high tail it to the theatres when a new film is released – like on 2/8 and on 2/14! Loved 27 Dresses. I live for chick flicks…!

    Know what was like living a chick flick? This past Sat eve, the Austin Symphony shared the stage with Air Supply! It was so fun, people swayed to the music with their phones open to show the light glowing and everyone sang along. My cheeks hurt from smiling because they were so entertaining. It was a live chick flick! Who knew I liked Air Supply!

  27. Well, there's something attractive about Phil:

    "The other day was mine, all mine, to do with what I pleased. Phil handed it to me…"

  28. I've been to a movie theater exactly 4 times in the past 10 years, and 2 of those times were against my will. As a matter of fact, my g/f and I have been together for about 3 1/2 years and we've never gone to a movie together (and don't plan to).

    My lack of interest in movies aside, I decided to read the comments because I knew some predictable lame-ass was going to comment on the fact that you movie hopped.

    Bari, congrats on being that lame-ass.

  29. Hmmm… movie hopping sounds like something to do when you're in Jr. high but not when you are married to a hedge fund manager and belong to 'a club'. I don't think it's lame to suggest that she pay her way to each movie, at all. Take some responsibility and act like an adult with an income…

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